What is Cirrhosis And Fibrosis Of The Liver?
If your cat’s liver is not functioning normally, he can suffer from a variety of symptoms. Cirrhosis and fibrosis are two conditions that can affect domestic felines. Your cat may develop cirrhosis if there is scar tissue formed in his liver. Fibrosis occurs when your cat develops scar tissue that takes the place of healthy liver tissue.
Your cat’s liver is a vital internal organ and is responsible for a variety of important functions. Located just behind the diaphragm, the liver is responsible for regulating your cat’s energy levels and immune system. It is also the organ that helps your cat metabolize protein and eliminate body waste.
Symptoms of Cirrhosis And Fibrosis Of The Liver in Cats
The symptoms associated with cirrhosis and fibrosis in cats can be wide-ranging and, at times, a bit vague. Here are some signs and symptoms you may see if your cat’s liver is not functioning the way it should be:
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Excessive urination
- Increased thirst
- Black or tarry stools
- Poor body condition or lack luster coat
- Yellow tinted gums
- Orange urine
- Ulcers or lesions on the body
- Distended abdomen from the buildup of fluid
- Excessive salivation or drooling
Causes of Cirrhosis And Fibrosis Of The Liver in Cats
There are a variety of conditions that can cause cirrhosis or fibrosis of the liver. Here is a list of the most common causes found in domestic cats:
- Infectious diseases
- Long term traumatic injury
- Chronic bowel disease
- Blockage of the common bile duct
- MMedication-induced injury to the liver
- Inflamed bile ducts
Diagnosis of Cirrhosis And Fibrosis Of The Liver in Cats
If you think your cat may have cirrhosis or fibrosis of the liver, it is important to see your veterinarian for an examination. To diagnose these conditions, your doctor will take a complete medical history from you. During this portion of the visit, it is important to include any information that will help your doctor determine the cause of your cat’s condition. Let your doctor know if your cat has been diagnosed with any previous medical conditions, the date symptoms started, and current symptoms. After taking a medical history, your doctor will examine your cat. He will be looking for neurological symptoms and how your cat behaves during his visit.
Your doctor will also take a blood sample to run diagnostic tests. A complete profile, CBC and thyroid test are just a few tests he may perform. Blood tests to check your cat’s sugar levels may also be performed. A urine sample will also be taken from your cat to check for signs of infection or other disease. In cases where liver disease or dysfunction is suspected, your doctor may perform a procedure known as a fine needle aspiration. During this test, a tiny tissue sample is extracted from the liver and sent to a laboratory for testing. If diagnosis proves elusive, your doctor may perform a liver biopsy to obtain a diagnosis.
Treatment of Cirrhosis And Fibrosis Of The Liver in Cats
Once your doctor has a diagnosis, he will recommend a treatment plan for your cat. If your cat is eating and acting fairly normally, your doctor may opt to treat him on an outpatient basis. Doctors try this if possible to keep costs down for the owner and because cats are generally happier at home. However, if your cat is very sick it may be best to admit him to the veterinary hospital for treatment. Your doctor will administer IV fluids, medications, and vitamin supplements. Cats that are not eating at all may need to have a feeding tube in place to prevent further weight loss.
If your doctor finds fluid in your cat’s abdomen, he may remove it with a needle. Your veterinarian may restrict your cat’s sodium until the problem is resolved. Food may also be restricted if your cat is vomiting excessively. In this case, he will receive nutrition via his IV. In severe cases, your doctor may perform surgery to remove a portion of the liver. If this is the case, he will perform tests beforehand to be sure your cat’s blood is clotting the way it should.
Recovery of Cirrhosis And Fibrosis Of The Liver in Cats
Your cat’s recovery will depend on the treatment and severity of his condition. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions exactly after discharge to prevent relapse. It may be necessary to make return appointments to run blood work to check for infection and monitor bile acid levels. Your doctor will also check to see if fluid build-up has returned in your cat’s abdomen. At every visit, your doctor will also check your cat’s vital signs. This includes weight, respiration and heart rate. It is important to let your doctor know if you cat refuses food and begins losing weight. His overall demeanor will also be an indication of how he feels. Any significant changes should be reported to your doctor as soon as you notice them.